Letter for parents 3-8

February 12, 2015

Dear Parent or Guardian:

In our continuing efforts to ensure that your child – and all children/students – in Elysian School District 23 are prepared for success, I’m excited to share our efforts to reach challenging academic goals and to put in place improved assessments.

In 2011, the Montana Board of Public Education approved the Montana Common Core Standards, and implementation began in our state. Developed with input by teachers, parents, and education experts, the standards provide clear and consistent grade by grade expectations in English and math of the knowledge and skills students need to be successful in school and after graduation. In order to ensure our students are on track for success, new assessments have been developed to measure where students are succeeding and where they need help.

This school year, the online Smarter Balanced assessments will replace our previous paper-and-pencil CRT Reading and Math assessments. The new assessments offer significant improvements over tests of the past. They include writing at every grade level, more interactive questions, and performance tasks that ask students to demonstrate a range of critical thinking and problem solving skills. We believe this assessment will be a better tool for parents and teachers, providing a much clearer picture of where students are and what we need to do to move them forward.

This first year of the Smarter Balanced test will be a new starting point for student achievement in Montana. Because the new assessments measure higher standards, the definition of grade-level performance is also higher than it was with our old tests. For the first few years, fewer students are likely to meet grade-level standards. It’s important to note that this does not mean that students are doing worse than previous years. Our students are being assessed by more challenging academic standards than before, and it may take some time for students to catch up.

We are committed to working with teachers and parents to provide support for all students to succeed. As we approach the testing window, we are excited about implementing new assessments that will better prepare students for success throughout their education and after high school graduation.

For more information about the Smarter Balanced assessment, you can learn more at http://www.smarterbalanced.org.


Miss. Jenna Kesler

Elysian School Counselor

On Feb 12, 2015, at 12:25 PM, Heather Gunsch <heathergunsch> wrote:

Hi,I forgot to mention I need it saved as a .doc or I can’t open it. On your mac when you hit save in Pages select save as and then choose the doc/word option.


Heather Gunsch
Secretary, heathergunsch

Elysian School | District #23 | 6416 Elysian Road, Billings, MT 59101 | p. 406.656.4101 f. 406.656.9941
Please consider the environment before printing my email. Please Be Aware: This message including any attachments may contain confidential or privileged information or information protected by federal and state law. If you are not the intended recipient or you believe you may have received this message by mistake, please contact the sender by reply email and delete the message from your computer. Thank you.

On Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 11:38 AM, Jenna Rae Kesler <jennakesler> wrote:

I this doesn’t load let me know and I’ll just send the body in an email. Thank you so much for your help!


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